Hard habit to shake: Dutch PM Rutte has to hold his hands up


FILE PHOTO: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte attends a news conference after the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had just gone on live TV to tell the country’s 17 million residents to stop shaking hands to help combat coronavirus when he immediately broke the new rule.

“From now on we stop shaking hands,” he said during a Monday evening news conference. “You can foot-tap or elbow-bump, or whatever you can come up with. ..but from today on we are going to stop shaking hands.”

Minutes later Rutte turned and enthusiastically shook the hand of Jaap van Dissel, the head of the Dutch Center for Infectious Disease Control who was also giving the press conference.

Van Dissel pointed out Rutte’s mistake.

“Sorry, sorry! No, that’s not allowed! Let’s do that again,” Rutte said, breaking into a laugh.

The Netherlands had reported 321 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, editing by Ed Osmond

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